To be honest I am still baffled as to how and when death became so bold in Nigeria. It has been claiming untimely lives in great amounts as though it created humans. While using flimsy excuses to exonerate its actions, lives are now being snatched at its earliest and in the most brutal and merciless way. One would wonder what warranted this great retaliation and mortification with the way death has been lurking from door to door, as though is was awoken by someone or something, still marvels me and the entire nation.
This raises the question, what have we done? or how have we sinned?, that the blood plastered on our bodies and homes meant for protection has now become worthless, unable to pursue untimely death away. With less resistance, death has become an unwanted guest who pushes down our broad piece of metal shield with a slight breeze from its nostril, claiming as many lives which people have had to endure on this bumpy journey on earth. The search for a better life and the hope intended for tomorrow are suddenly taken away due to negligence, retaliation and hatred, friends of death himself. But why do people, of whom had planned for the next day, have to die because death had a bad day, a day which has no regards for children or a whole family.
Impartial Human rights groups who have shown displeasure as they catalogued every reported attack have continue to plead with foreign states to look into these escalating killings and a need for urgent and effective intervention. Since it is of the opinion that the Nigerian government has no definite plan of action to effect a solution that would trigger an abrupt end to untimely loss of lives. So far, the government has made no concrete attempt to discontinue the violence between communities and armed groups, as these areas remain tensed.
The extended pattern of violence and barbarity has become too common across Nigeria in recent times, particularly in the middle-belt and increasing in the southern regions. According to reports, before the Plateau incident of which majority of the victims were women and children, Fulani herdsmen militia have perpetrated 106 attacks with a death toll of about 1,061 recorded in local communities in the first quarter of 2018. During the subsequent months, the toll of dead and injured has mounted significantly, as there have been increasing attacks and killings also linked to herdsmen in some other states in the country, including but not limited to Benue, Adamawa and Taraba.
These are sad times for Nigerians as everyone someway or the other is experiencing physical or emotional grief and the “peoples cry” appear to be unheard by the government. Some are of the opinion that some business owners and top officials are to blame and even though employers and government officials are not physically involved, these people should be held responsible for negligence and the inability to discontinue such disheartening manmade disasters. To some extent this viewpoint appears to be true, as there have been rumours about government officials funding terrorists and gunmen with AK47s, rocket launchers and rocket-propelled grenades to invoke havoc on its people, primarily for the purpose of manipulating the minds of the citizens against a current ruler. While, business owners employ unskilled staffs in delicate roles that could endanger the lives of the public.
However, I particularly think poverty plays a major role in many of these dreadful situations. An economic pollution that is derived mostly from the “poverty of the mind” instead of the physical. How can a group of cow bearers think a cow equals a human being and therefore must be treated as the same. In what part of a subconscious mind is this morally perceivable. How can this be? Can someone please explain to me how a cow’s life is equivalent to a human’s life or why people run towards instantaneous danger instead of fleeing. Maybe these bogus stories intended to cover-up genuine stories that could cause a disorderly behaviour by the public.
My take is that we will soon reach a threshold were a rebellion seems very likely, if the killings of innocent lives continues at this steady pace. It is therefore important to note that the “Arab revolution” which is also referred to as the “Arab spring” that consecutively lasted for a number of years in North Africa and the Middle East was an allusion of protests, riots, civil wars, coupes and external intervention across muslim nations, with a more recent revolution which started from Tunisia. The Tunisian revolution was as a result of when a man who was harassed by the police for selling unlawfully burnt himself alive thereafter. This trivial but highly sensitive circumstance caused an immediate uprising by the people who were already frustrated, to remove the then leader of the nation initiated similar rebellion in many muslim nations such as Egypt, Syria, Libya and Bahrain. While, Morocco, Iraq, Algeria, Iranian Khuzestan, Lebanon, Jordan, Kuwait, Oman and Sudan witnessed sustained street protests, in hope that the movements would end corruption, increase political participation, public equity and greater economic revenue. As the world watched the terror unfold, the goal of the “Arab Spring” was to bring down these regimes. And at the end of it all, there was a growing support for democracy after authoritarian governments were changed and held accountable.
Our dear country is in pains and I think we are getting to that point, a place of brokenness, when people will disregard their lives in other to fight for a new and better time to come. The sudden emotional sadness and bitterness in the land- that which people are experiencing as a result of the many screaming souls glaring at their washed up blood and either slaughtered or brunt bodies- will forever be a passionate moment not forgotten so soon. Which way Nigeria? or have we eaten the forbidden apple the second time?
The death toll in Nigeria since 2009 cannot be properly accounted for, but one thing is certain, the numbers are significantly raising by the day. In preceding years, a noticeable number of deaths reported was as a result of Boko Haram terrorist killings, which had led to the displacement of tens of thousands of people. In recent times, however, Fulani herdsmen murders have created a remarkable stain in our society in a very short period, superseding the slaughtering of men, women and children from 2015 to 2017. Even though some religious leaders and activists belief that the motivation behind the recent violence and killings are still associated with “Ethnic-religious cleansing” and “Territorial conquest”, it is however not solely an anti-religious crisis or maybe this could just be the case- a regrettable manifestation which we have decided to shun irrespective of the relatable occurrences. Could this be true?
Well, in the face of the reports of violence collected by media groups, christians were killed for refusing to convert to Islam, during the killings of over a thousand people between 26th and 29th of July 2009, by Islamic militants. Also, before the islamic militant insurgence, The “2000 Kaduna Riots” were 2,000 to 5,000 people were reportedly killed was as a result of religious riots between Christians and Muslims over the introduction of sharia law in Kaduna. Similarly, two days of rioting involving Christians and Muslims over the result of a local election in Jos left hundreds injured and at least 761 dead in the “2008 Jos Riots”.
However, it is important to note that subsequent and recent killings cannot be wholly justified as religious, because there were other instances were religion was not at play. For example, The “2009 Boko Haram uprising” saw violence across several states in northeastern Nigeria, which resulted in more than 1,000 deaths with about 700 killed in the city of Maiduguri alone and on the night of May the 5th of 2014, Boko Haram terrorist attacked the twin towns of Gamboru and Ngala in Borno State, Nigeria and shot people dead when they tried to escape. Roughly 310 residents were killed in the 12-hour attack which left the town largely destroyed with houses set ablaze. Then, the “Zaria Massacre” happened on the 12th of December 2015, in Zaria, Kaduna State, Nigeria, were over 348 Shiites, including members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria were killed during an open fire by the Nigerian army. Afterwards, there was the “2015–2016 Killing of Biafran Protesters” were over 80 demonstrators agitating for the secession of the Biafra region from Nigeria, for the purpose of restoring sovereignty of the Republic of Biafra, were killed by Nigerian security operatives, while more than 400 others were arrested, detained or imprisoned. The above realities show undisputed signs that it is not particularly a religious war but mostly a political struggle for power, through violent methods to support a political or social cause.
We were thought to be safe from natural disasters, but instead we are consumed periodically by artificial disasters. Regardless of what anyone thinks, the government owes the citizen a great deal of responsibility, a duty to lessen life-threatening hazards and unnecessary conflicts. Government bodies must work tirelessly and accurately to ensure a safer country for Nigerians, as the condition of the country is evidently dwindling in all sectors and if not controlled, the country could be positioned and labelled as “A State of Emergency”.
Given the escalation of “farmer-herder clashes” the government has to take precise measure against these grisly killings. Government officials responsible for peace-talks are expected to revisit the narrative by conducting their own assessment, before initiating a dialogue between community chieftains and leaders of the herdsmen association, to merely urge all sides to avoid violence or face harsh persecution as a warning to others. Since they receive the benefits of being a leader of a certain group of people, then they must for this reason reap the consequences of the peoples actions. In addition, severe punishments should be levied against sensitive and highly inflammable business establishments who fail to follow safety guidelines. People have to be held responsible and it is about time a scape goat is made an example.
The above mentioned initiatives if enacted should suffice to limit unreasonable and inexcusable sequence of events from reoccurring in the nearest future. Besides, the citizens have to protect each other as the government cannot handle every mundane issue. Inhabitants have to preserve lives and properties in their immediate communities, thereby shunning violence and promoting peace amongst our neighbours. We must all come together to fight this evil and put an end to the raising death toll, as immoral and wicked people prevail when good people do nothing.